The Tudor Society

Cleaning and doing the washing in Tudor times

In today's Claire Chats video I look at how the Tudors kept their homes clean and how they did their laundry.

You will also find the following video resources useful:

*I mention "cinkfoyle" in my talk as being mixed with red arsenic and "Mertum Cudum" as a stain remover and Tim pointed out afterwards that it was probably "zinc foil".

Further Reading

  • Sim, Alison (2010), The Tudor Housewife, The History Press.
  • Goodman, Ruth; Ginn, Peter; Pinfold, Tom (2013) Tudor Monastery Farm: Life in rural England 500 years ago, BBC Books.

There are 2 comments Go To Comment

  1. D

    Where did you find the recipe for the spot remover with the red arsenic (which would be likely realgar, AsS)? As someone with expertise in sulfide geochemistry, that got my attention. I’m sure there’s some interesting chemistry involved, since both As and S can act as strong bonding agents in organic compounds. So please, what was the reference? You can post it here or send it to me since you have my email. I have a bit of a hobby in figuring out how these old pre-industrial compounds worked so I’d love to figure this one out. (Claire, as an example of my medieval/renaissance chemistry addiction, check out my handout on glue, which I did for a class for a medieval living history group a few years back, at

    1. C - Post Author

      I’m on holiday at the moment but will check my notes when I get back.

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Cleaning and doing the washing in Tudor times